Following a UK-wide trial that took place over this past winter, British Gas has placed an order for 100 all-electric Nissan e-NV200 vans. The electric vans are to be delivered to British Gas in two batches, half as soon as possible and half by the end of the year.
In November last year British Gas started using 28 battery electric vans provided by Nissan in a trial to see how useable they are in real world winter conditions. In total the vans covered over 60,000 miles – that’s over 2100 miles each – on normal British Gas duties.
British Gas aims to have at least 10 per cent of its home service fleet electrically powered by 2017 and these vans are a great step in that direction.
The e-NV200 is an all-electric van that uses the same drivetrain as the Nissan LEAF. The battery has been reconfigured to fit totally below the van’s floor plan but it is still connected to the same 80kW motor used in the LEAF. We have plans to take the e-NV200 out for a spin ourselves in the coming months to see what it feels like behind the wheel.
As with its distant relative the Renault Kangoo ZE, it comes in multiple layouts allowing companies to choose how many seats they need in relation to storage space.
This versatility means that as a vehicle it is suited to many tasks. British Gas is not the first company to be interested in a fleet of these vehicles. In March Taxi Electric, a taxi company based in Amsterdam, became the world’s first privately run company to use Nissan’s new e-NV200 to shuttle people around the city.
In the British Gas trial of the vans, the UK utility company worked with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions who managed the fleet operations. They also worked with Gateshead College who trained the drivers in how to get the best range out of their new all-electric mode of transportation.
British Gas was clever in testing these vans out over the winter months. Winter is often the time where getting the range needed is of the most concern to drivers. To prove them at that time of the year should put the drivers’ minds at rest for the rest of the year. Although, this last winter was incredibly mild, even by UK standards.
It seems that not only was the trial a success from British Gas’s point of view but also from the drivers as many drivers were reluctant to hand back their vans. Here at Transport Evolved we can’t blame them; going from a silent running electric van to a diesel powered one would be a shock to the ears not to mention the bum through all the engine vibrations!
Paul Kidd, a British Gas service and repair engineer from Northumberland, said: “I can sometimes spend hours each day driving between customers’ homes, but the Nissan e-NV200 made that just a little bit easier. It was smooth, stress-free and I was really disappointed when I had to give it back. I would absolutely recommend the van to other engineers, particularly as the technology improves and more charge points are installed. It’s definitely the future.”
As British Gas are one of the companies in the UK that install home electric car charging stations, this could mean that in the near future even the installation of your personal charging station could be zero emissions.
What do you think about the use of all-electric vans by companies like British Gas? What do you think of the e-NV200 itself? Let us know in the comments below.
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